ZF Friedrichshafen’s 9HP nine-speed automatic transmission, which was first announced earlier this year, now has more specific details about it, though there’s still no mention of when it is expected to debut in a production vehicle.
The unit, which doesn’t replace the 8HP eight-speeder and is meant for passenger cars with front-transverse drive, will be available in two variant forms, covering a torque range between 280 and 480 Nm.
The transmission, which is stop-start capable (with only one friction shift element that needs to be closed for restarting), features four individual gearsets and six shifting elements. A torque converter is used in the 9HP as the standard starting element, with a multi-level torsion damper system minimising hydraulic losses and quick bridging of the torque converter lock-up clutch facilitated at low speeds. In hybrid-based applications, the torque converter is replaced by an electric motor.
ZF says the unit, with its extremely high total spread of 9.84, offers savings of up to 16% compared to today’s standard 6-speed automatic transmissions in front-transverse installations. In ninth gear, only 1,900 rpm is needed to cruise at 120 kph instead of 2,600 in a 6-speed transmission.
With a view in installation in a wide variety of vehicle applications, the 9HP has been prepared as a ‘construction kit’ – for example, an additional transfer case can be connected for all-wheel drive operation. In this case, it can be mated to ZF’s AWD Disconnect all-wheel drive, which can be decoupled – it actuates the rear axle drive only when needed, offering a fuel savings of around 5% compared to permanent all-wheel drive.
How much is too much when it comes to gears? Cars like the BMW 5-Series come with eight forward ratios now, which is already a lot, but you can count on someone trying to outdo that. That someone is Hyundai, which is reported to be developing a 10-speed automatic transmission. Yes, 10.
Bloomberg News reported Park Seong Hyon, president of Hyundai Motor Group, the umbrella company of Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp, saying that they’re developing the said 10 speeder for future luxury vehicles starting in 2014.
These could possibly including the next Hyundai Genesis and Equus luxury sedans. ZF is rolling out a 9-speed auto in 2013, and this one will retake the lead, if no one else joins the race.
Automakers are increasingly using transmissions with more gears to cut fuel consumption and emissions, and this piece of news signals that the Korean carmaker is firmly on the path of developing its own transmissions, instead of picking one off the shelves of ZF, BorgWarner or Aisin.
The 6-speed slushbox servicing the current Sonata and Tucson is an in house effort, and earlier this year, Hyundai launched an self developed 8-speed auto for the 2012 Genesis and Equus sedans. But 10?